Throughout the past three NBA seasons, Golden State has emerged into an elite historic dynasty. After three straight NBA Finals appearances, the Warriors have become a ‘hate em’ or ‘love em’ organization.
With four current all-stars on their roster, the championship odds are strongly in the Bay Area’s favor. On a pre-season survey, 93% of GM’s expect the Warriors to win the title. While every team trains to extinguish the Warriors era, Golden State is having another remarkable season.
Pros: Playstyle - Unselfishness
As new super teams have developed in Oklahoma City and Minnesota, they're play styles are still in formation. While the OK3 take turns playing ‘Iso-Ball’, Golden States unselfishness is displayed each play. As Minnesota tries to win games with minimal defense, the Warriors established a defensive play style which involves guarding the perimeter with perfection.
There seems to be enough spotlight time for every player in Golden State. Offensively - with 11 players averaging more than 5 points per game, and four players averaging over 10, this statistic represents the Warrior playbook in two major ways. Primarily: the unselfishness, leading the NBA in team totals for assists by over 200, the stats don’t lie. These Warriors have mastered team basketball. Secondly, the teamwide player involvement is incredible. Without a player averaging more than 35 minutes, the organization has utilized it’s players tremendously. Steve Kerr’s use of substitutions is vital to avoiding fatigue and injury. The Warriors have surely trademarked their own selfless, efficient, intelligent remedy of dominance in today's MVP.
Cons: Discluding the 1960’s Celtics, only Magic’s Lakers, Bird’s Celtics, and LeBron’s Heat have made four consecutive NBA Finals appearances.
Despite the greatness of NBA stars have pleasured fans with over generations, statistics and history show the near impossibility of making four straight NBA Finals. Kobe, Shaq, Olajuwon, and even Jordan never achieved the Warriors current season goal. While their odds remain favored in Vegas, Curry looks to join elite company in making four straight finals.
Pros: Having two top 5 players
Of the last three players to win MVP, Golden State has two. Durant and Curry are undoubtedly elite future Hall of Fame players who’ve dominated the league over season spans. It’s the first time back to back MVP winners play as teammates in their prime.
With Kevin Durant as a current MVP candidate, and Steph claiming he’s “the best version of myself”, the Warriors will be favored to go back to back this June. This past September, ESPN ranked Draymond Green the 10th in NBA player value. It would be tough to imagine Klay Thompson being far behind… It’s reached a point where this star-studded superteam should feel embarrassed if they fail to raise the Larry O'Brien trophy this summer.
Cons: Injury impacts
In the midst of their domination, the Warriors have been extremely lucky in avoiding severe injury. Despite a brief head injury with Steph Curry, in a 3-0 lead over Houston, Golden State’s health has yet to impact the excellence over the years. Meanwhile, through recent minor injuries from Draymond, KD, and Steph, the Warriors first sign of fatigue is showing after three straight 100+ game seasons.
After a few weeks of absence, Curry scored 38 points in his return from injury (Dec. 30). No rust to be shaken off there. These Warriors are certainly smart, strong, and experienced enough to win the next Finals. At this point in time, injury seems to be the Warriors greatest opponent.
Pros: Nearly the same roster
As the Warriors resigned their core, the Bulls, Pacers, Knicks, Cavs, and Clippers have all lost their key players. Kevin Durant’s willingness to take a pay cut, allowed Golden State to give Curry a max contract. The Warriors debatably have four top thirty ranked players. In what seems to be an era where only super teams can win, Golden States GM, Bob Myers, has set the stage for a long-lasting dynasty.
2015 NBA Finals
The Warriors tremendous path to the Finals was easily paved with opposing injury. All four teams battled Golden State without their starting point guard. These series were no challenge to a full strength Warriors. Out of Cleveland’s big three, LeBron stood alone after Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving were sidelined with playoff injury.
2016 NBA Finals
After a record-breaking 73-9 season, Michael Jordan jinxed the Warriors, claiming the record is only relevant if they win the championship. After anear elimination in the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors seemed unprepared for a revenge-seeking Cavalier squad. After taking the 3-1 lead in the series, Golden State seemed to be ‘out of gas.’
Despite blowing the lead and losing the Finals, a positive outcome would soon take place following this upset.
While allegedly being recruited all season long to join the squad, Kevin Durant could relate to losing a 3-1 lead. On the Fourth of July, Kevin Durant committed to join Golden State to better his possibility of winning a ring. This choice earned KD the title as the new villain of the league, and a cupcake from former OKC fans.
2017 NBA Finals
Congratulations Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors. After the best ‘winningest’ season in NBA history, it only took another MVP to beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Superteams are now common, Houston, Oklahoma City, and Minnesota all made moves this summer to acquire multiple threats.
As the Warriors have gained hate through recruiting and having tremendous success, will opposing team injury and extreme recruitment backfire on the Golden State Warriors?